Coping with trauma

Dr Errol N Benjamin -
Dr Errol N Benjamin -

THE EDITOR: Trauma in life is as sure as death, as the sun rising tomorrow. But not as an end in itself. It is the means to our growth and development, to build character and to test it, which is why it seems to be part of a master plan. For imagine we were created merely to imbibe and to consume and thereto to urinate and defecate, would that be our life’s purpose?

However, trauma comes in different forms and fashion, to different levels of intensity. But whatever form it takes it is our purgation, so that we must “take learnin'” if even it takes the greatest sacrifice, or do the chores, or face the sting, or strive to put food on the table or our family will be on our heads, inter alia, all manageable if we stick to the task and bend or backs to the wheel. Some of us succeed and some of us fail, but for many trauma is difficult to bear, and often not of our own making.

Like the father of Jayden Reyes in a headline in a daily of June 7 entitled “Dad mourns bright son,” which tells of a father’s sense of loss of one he bred and was about to see the fruits of his labour when his life was snuffed out in a wink.

My concern is not with the “news” aspect of this tragedy, or even the indifference to life and death of the perpetrators – the latter now the norm – but the state of mind of the father who had to come to terms with this sudden, unexpected loss.

We can only look on as outsiders, but to get into the mind of a father whose last thought was the sudden death of his dearly beloved is virtually impossible. It is the supreme rack on human experience and he alone will have to bear it and come to terms with it. Maybe this is his test!

And no different is the young mother who would have lost her beautiful baby in the recent imbroglio involving the deaths of so many other babies. Her name eludes me at the moment but the visual of her obvious trauma does not. Again I am not in the "news” of that tragedy but merely to try to get into the mindset of that young mother and her insufferable loss.

Long ago having children seemed a matter of course, but nowadays with the complexity of modern life the young mother having a child is often faced with a daunting challenge. And with the beautiful pictures of her baby now a sad memory, can we ever hope to fathom her sense of loss? Her simple words that “I try to forget but just can’t” tell a story of unimaginable grief. Maybe this is her own test, like the father above.

And there are so many others like this father and the young mother, but they too must suffer in silence. I cannot get into the why of such tragedies, why killers could kill without a thought about who lives or who dies, or how caregivers could forget their oath and become so indifferent to life and death, and how those who have the power to prevent such tragedy seem just as indifferent.

Maybe a kind of retributive justice awaits them. But true to my theory at the beginning, that maybe it is all part of a master plan to test our character as part of our growth and development and some of us succeed out of our own efforts and some of us fail due to a lack thereof.

But for many it’s often not of their own doing and too much to bear.


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"Coping with trauma"

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